Mayor Oliver Retiring After Over 40 Years of Public Service
Friday, November 09, 2018
Mayor Jerry Oliver has been serving the community of Falls City since 1974. In December, he will be closing out his term as Mayor, the final step in a life committed to public service. For over four decades, he has worked to help shape Falls City into the thriving community it is today. This has been a journey shared with other passionate community members and his wife of 57 years, Sharryll. “It’s been a good time” said Jerry of his public service.
Over more than forty years, a lot has changed. Perhaps one of the biggest changes has been how Falls City has transformed from a town facing an economic decline to one that is progressive, growing and thriving. Jerry attributes this to the commitment of local leaders and volunteers, along with a major attitude shift from the overall community. “The attitude shifted from “we can’t do this” to “let’s get it done.”” That attitude describes Mayor Oliver perfectly well. In his single term as mayor he has tackled significant infrastructure upgrades and worked to place all city employees in new or renovated properties, something that involved several major construction projects. Working closely with the City Administrator, Gary Jorn, he has taken significant steps to ensure that the city he loves is prepared for future growth. Of working with Mayor Oliver, Jorn said, “He has a lot of common sense and a lot of knowledge, along with a good rational thought process that comes from his years of work and service.”
Mayor Oliver started his community service volunteering for the Falls City Fire Department. At the time, he and Sharryll had recently moved back to Falls City and were looking to get plugged into the community. As a former volunteer firefighter, this seemed like a natural first step. Enjoying the role and seeing the need for volunteers on the Ambulance Squad, he and Sharryll decided to sign up. Over the course of 17 years, he volunteered for the Ambulance Squad, with some of those years being spent serving as a volunteer fireman as well, in addition to a police reserve officer. “At one time, I could put on more than one hat when going out on calls, based on the community’s needs” said Jerry. He also worked with the Richardson County Emergency Management Agency, serving as the co-director and director for fourteen years and was part of a rescue unit that required being trained on how to rappel down buildings. In other words, if there was an emergency in Falls City, there was a good chance that Jerry Oliver was in the thick of it.
As he began approaching retirement, Jerry considered other ways he could serve, becoming interested in serving on the city council and then running for mayor. Of being mayor, he told the Falls City Journal, “I’ve not had any problems that we could not overcome. We’ve got quite a few things done, I believe, for the city. Most importantly getting all the employees in new facilities that they can be proud of.”
Still, after serving for over forty years, Mayor Oliver knew that it was time for him to step aside and enjoy retirement for a while. He and Sharryll plan on traveling in their camper and enjoy working with the state parks system. Here in Falls City, he is optimistic about the direction the city has taken and how prepared the community is for future growth. To facilitate that growth, he encourages young people to step up and take a leading role. “Young people are going to have to get involved because a lot of people are getting older and won’t be here forever. Now is the time for young people to volunteer, even if they think they don’t have time. If you really want to do things you can find the time. Just do what you enjoy, and you won’t get burned out. Also, young people should know that not everything is as it seems. There are leadership positions available for those who want to get involved, even if it may not appear like it. Young people just have to ask and then have a vision. In 1974 when I started volunteering, most people would not have imagined Falls City looking like it does today. We have accomplished so much, improving everything from the parks and sports fields to the library and our infrastructure. A lot can be done when people step forward and really push for change.”
That’s exactly right Mayor Oliver and Falls City has you to thank for constantly working to push us forward.